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  1. #1
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    E-Bay? Used? need a cheap bike. would you?

    I thought I'd just get a used bike; easy 'nuf, I said and went to newyork.craigslist.org (I'm in CT but close enough to NY to get on the train and pick up a bike easily enough) and checked through the pictures. Doing so let me to shopping.com, epinions.com, some happyherbalist site, not to mention the zillion googles...

    Well, it was a kinda informational 3 hrs spent with no success: at least I now know what some benefits of having a steel frame over aluminum might be and what is the difference between hardtail and dual-suspension and what size frame I need (I think)... but I REALLY FREAKING NEED SOME HELP CHOOSING A BIKE!

    Has anyone ever had luck with Ebay. I'm not a competitive cyclist and don't need the best. I'm looking to spend between $100 and $200 and used is totally cool. Had thought I'd found some pretty good deals with craigslist and had actually heard of the brands. But what about that stuff they have on Ebay? I guess the unknown stuff is homemade? http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...7109683349&rd=1 <-- Like this. What's it all about man?

    And what about weird names such as Jeep Grand Cherokee bikes? They actually look nice to me (not that I know anything about bikes) but it seems kinda creepy to buy a bike with a car name. It's cheap though: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...7109634006&rd=1

    Well, here's me:

    female
    5'9.5"
    120lbs.

    And here's what I think I have it narrowed down to: CHEAP BIKE. And I think steel is better for me? (I'm pretty sensitive to bumps and I like to go off-road somewhat... at least on bumpy roads) And dual-suspension? Comfort is important. Also, a 19" frame?

    PLEASE ADVISE!

    So many thank yous...

    Eri

  2. #2
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Stay away from suspension bikes unless you have many $$. Are you into road\ commuting or mtb. A mtb is more versatile. you can put a narrower slick tire and scoot the streets fine, weekends go find a trail. IMO that jazz.

    Front suspension is recommended for Alu frames to smoooth the ride, a steel frame can do without.

    Hmmm..looking at Craiglist.

    http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/bik/47112121.html I don't like step through frames though, just an inclined toptube is fine ( girls bike.)

    like http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/bik/47116241.html Yecch.

    http://newyork.craigslist.org/jsy/bik/47105395.html Has poor components.

    http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/bik/47115181.html Ha, didn't know bikes had sexes..
    Maybe email for a frame size, component list?

    I'm not so sure about road bikes but a 19 inch seattube? you must have long legs..

    Mtb are generally ridden to the small side, I'm around 5,9 i ride a 16 inch seattube 20 inch toptube. Most I do 17.5 by 22. So I think you're going too big.

    Also a frame a little too small can be corrected with a longer stem, a frame too big is just hard to maneuver
    .

    http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/bik/47114230.html is a good 'real' mtb. The frame is more to the downhill side of riding.

    But with these posts, you have to contact them and get a component list, then post it in BF.

    Are there any bikeshops around you? They often get in trades and the bikes are inspected and come with some guarantee.

  3. #3
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    Jeff: you are the best. I'll bake you a whole BATCH of cookies. What kind do you want? I'll make 'em specialized.

    Thank you for your advice and for taking the time to look at those bikes. I do want a mountain bike but I'll stay away from suspension. I wonder about buying the bikes that are really good but also really old... I imagine they've been well taken care of if they're top-line bikes but is it better to just get a new one?

    There's one bike shop around me but I'm really looking to not spend so much and I'd hate to go in there knowing I'd not purchase one of theirs (they're pretty pricey).

    I have one more question, Jeff (and hope you'll actually be reading this) but the one bike you mentioned that had poor components -- how can you tell and which parts are bad? Do you have any hints for how to look at a bike and see if it is worthwhile?

    Thanks!

    --Eri *hands you a cookie*

  4. #4
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Suntour are a low level component maker, They might have made some good stuff, but every thing I've seen was inferior. Also they don't seem to hold up well with age.
    Being that it is a 7 speed rear cluster, it's not a easy way to go. Best to look for a 24 speed bike. Also being that old, I imagine it has center pull cantilever brakes, not side pull. Shimano would be a better company to go for.

    A good idea is to find older 'top o' the line' bikes, and replace the components that need to be upgraded. This is a hard go- but it can wwork if you don't have the cash @ one time- upgrade when you can afford.

    I kinda like the Craigslist as you get to inspect before purchase (look for cracks, bulged paint\ underside as well.) A little rust on a steel bike is no real problem, I do suggest if you are going used to consider steel, smooth ride, can last many years.

    Old school mtb pics- got a nice one? I do. is what I built. Original frame and older components $150. I spent $400 say over a year to mod it to my liking.

    http://www.firstflightbikes.com/atb.htm Is a good place to get an idea of what old bikes are good. ( Maybe Suntour wasn't TOO bad, they are included in parts timeline.)

    What you are looking for (anybody) IMO is a phat frame, the frame is the most important part of the ride, and the hardest to swap out. A new tire, derailler etc is not hard to swap. Some individual PARTS on a used bike can be worth more than the price asked for the bike. A real mtb wheel, spoke, hub is say above $150 new, sometimes you can find an old bike that someone has upgraded, then left....$75 and you rip the drive, brakes etc and slap them on your project.

    Bike mechanics are not too complicated, do not require any male attributes to wrench-
    (fact you'ld probably strip way less bolts than I do- .)

    I like fixing things, restoring and blowing off the 'planned obselecence' that proliferates modern consumerism.

    Most BF members would argue that this (retrofit) is more expensive and harder than a LBS sold new bike.....but for $200 you can't get much HQ metal. The frame I fixed up would cost over $800 US to replace ( the frame, not the bike.)

  5. #5
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    How to inspect a bike? hmmm.

    Alu frames your looking for paint bulges, cracks in the frame (no dents).

    A steel frame, minor dents are o.k, look inside the seattube for rust.

    Now a ride will tell a lot, is the drive train smooth? ( how does the crank turn over?)

    Inspect the drive teeth- got all of them?

    Side pull cantilevers are superior to center pull.

    Wheels should be true (straight) and tires rubber not peeling.

    A test for BB overflex (frames can be overridden, they 'noodle') is to hold the bar\ seat and push with your foot the bb. It should not move too much, maybe 2 inches.

    Ride and listen to the bike for creaks, in an Alu frame this would be bad.

    Inspect the levers, deraillers, make sure they operate well. Rust may mean steel. Steel is nice for a frame, but not for components. Shimano is the standard, comes in different levels (groupe).

    Check the headset turns smoothly, pedals as well.

    Also, if you have a cool seller, perhaps a check out at your local bike mechanic.

    All I can think of...

    http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/commute/commbike.htm Maybe read what this guy says..might be valid info, I didn't really read much.
    Last edited by jeff williams; 10-28-04 at 06:10 PM.

  6. #6
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    I'm 5'9", female ... ride one 19" and one 20" frame. I captain a tandem with an 18" spot for me ... it is really too small, but it's a less expensive one and I needed the small stoker size for my daughter so 18 (or maybe 18.5) was what I got. I got a new stem and because of the more upright tandem position, it's good. Both the 18 & 19 models came with too short a seat post!

    Women's legs are generally much longer than men of the same height. BUT, we don't reach as far ... because the torso is shorter and sometimes arms shorter also. So, be careful with the fit business.

    Good luck!

  7. #7
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    Before I got my bike I checked Ebay and Craiglist looking for a bargain since I didn't know exactly what I wanted

    Then I wound up going over to my LBS where they had $25 off 2004 bikes and gave me an additional 10% off because the one I chose was the last "small" (51 CM) they had in stock, for that model. I'm 5'3" and have about a 30" inseam.

    My LBS also allowed me to test ride any bike I chose before purchasing. Even with tax, the new bike worked out to less than anything similar on Craig's List or Ebay, when you consider the shipping charges. Better yet, the bike came with a 30 day return policy, a warranty that includess check-ups for the fitst year, and gives me a discount on repairs, .

    If you still want to go the used route and you're willing to spend a bit more, you might want to check out
    http://www.nycbikes.com/index.php
    They seem a bit cheaper than "brand new" and probably have less risk than most "used."

    Stacy

  8. #8
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    After someone has owned a bunch of bikes, and gotten pretty good at spotting problems, buying a used bike from E-Bay can provide good value. Some superb bikes made around 1985 often sell on E-Bay for around $150, and the best of them are equal to a $1,000 bike of today.

    But, if you don't have experience, it is very easy to get burned. It is safer to look for a neighborhood bike shop that carries used bikes. Large chains usually do not, but some smaller "mom and pop'' shops do have older bikes. This kind of shop checks the bikes out, and makes sure that they are in safe, reliable condition. If there is a problem with the bike, they will take care of it.

    There are often some good deals on new bikes. One of the larger Trek dealers in my area already has some 2005 model bikes. They also have some 2004 models, and the "odd" 2003 model still hanging around. I was very impressed with the quality of a mountain bike that was at a "clearance" price of $199. It was as nice as some of the mountain bikes that sold for $500 twenty years ago. And, the store backs up their bikes with service both before and after the sale. Why would anyone want a Wal-Mart bike when a Trek is so affordable?

  9. #9
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hubs
    I'm 5'9", female ... ride one 19" and one 20" frame. I captain a tandem with an 18" spot for me ... it is really too small, but it's a less expensive one and I needed the small stoker size for my daughter so 18 (or maybe 18.5) was what I got. I got a new stem and because of the more upright tandem position, it's good. Both the 18 & 19 models came with too short a seat post!

    Women's legs are generally much longer than men of the same height. BUT, we don't reach as far ... because the torso is shorter and sometimes arms shorter also. So, be careful with the fit business.

    Good luck!
    You mean Seattube\ standover? I'm not so sure road geometry works for mtb.

    My 16 inch seatube has a 20 toptube. My 17.5 has a 21.5? toptube. A 19 seatube would be around 23 inch toptube- and as you state, ' the torso is shorter and sometimes arms shorter also' so if I, as a man reach further...???
    You want a SHORTER toptube.

    I'm 5.8.5, long reach, and do 'oversize' my 16.
    17 is better, but not as fun.
    A 22-23 inch toptube would be cumbersome, too big I think. MTB frames are heavy, another point for compact geometry.
    Also mtb stem can be longer than what is usually mounted for road bikes.

    I would suggest the toptube reach is more important, can be spread with a longer stem.

    Mtb offroad, it is IMO, better to be 'in charge' of the frame, smaller is better, easier to move around.
    Inclined frames are the stuff, the lower center of gravity\ torsion stability is really usefull.

    Older mtb with horizontal level toptubes may work with regular road geometry #'s, but the incline frames are different. it's reach, the toptubes end up long anyway with an incline frame.

    On the subject of reach, a 21 inch toptube would be around what I would suggest for Eri, that would be a 17.5 to 18 inch seattube, slight incline.

    My old racer buddy said the inclined frames came out in the mid 80's, but the pro's didn't like 'em, thought they looked like girls bikes -now anybody\ everybody going downhill rides sloped frames...Ya I ride a girlie bike...and HOW!

    Do you have any links for womens geometry in bikes? I've no idea what is done to warrent it being sold as a ladies bike other than short toptubes?

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the advice, all of you! I hope to be such a magnificent bicycling beast, such as you seem, someday.

    But, alas, I am no closer to making a decision... This is hard -- you begin to get really into it and it's like picking a baby, almost. Erm... if you could pick your own baby, that is. But it's a huge investment and you really want to make the right choice. Gosh, can I just rent one of you for a day and have you figure this out for me? I'll buy you a box of protein bars or, in the case of Jeff, make you a batch of cookies!

    Sooo many questions -- I don't wish to be annoying so only take a look if you're looking for something to do out of sheer boredom:

    * What do you think about an auto-gear shifting bike? http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...110368921&rd=1
    Seems silly but I'm a university student who might get some use out of that (I'm in CT btw, if anyone's near and, dunno, wants to chat or something about how CT sucks *shrug*) But this one seems dependent on how good the tune-up guy is.

    How 'bout older Trek's? http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...109129013&rd=1
    There's such price discrepancy among even a single brand and I get so freaking turned around.. *sigh*

    Are there brands that are good straight across the board? I see Specialized and Cannondales and Marins but what about the Treks and Giants and Mamooses. The latter 3 are lower-end, right? But, I guess since I'm a beginner and don't have an extremely high budget (I think i'd pay 300) these might be better. I'm a student so it's mostly for commuting but I want it to be a bike capable of some off-road stuff. I'd like to get a lot more into cycling and want a bike that's comfortable enough to ride so that I don't get discouraged. I'd also not like the pedals to fall off.

    Thanks for helping this incompetent!

    All my love, =P
    Eri

  11. #11
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    I looked at a lot of bikes online and thought I had narrowed it down to a Marin Muirwood or a Trek 7300 FX

    Went into my LBS and wound up getting a Specialized Sirrus Once the bikes there in front of me the choice was clear.

    In my case bike weight was a major factor and I wanted something that was enough fun that I would continue riding it. Getting a cheap used bike might be a short termed bargain but it's wasted money if winds up taking up space and gathering dust. $400 or $500 may seem like a lot, not to forget I've probably spent at least as much in accessories, but it's money I'm not spending on public transportation.

    If I had it to do all over again, and I really needed to stay under $200, I'd probably look for one of those vintage Raleigh Mixe frames from the '70s or '80s with a nice leather Brooks saddle. I saw one on Craigs List a while back for about $160.

    Either way, seeing the bike in person, and trying it out, is a lot easier than chosing a bike online.

    Stacy

  12. #12
    Nothing But Bianchi bianchi_rider's Avatar
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    I have gotten numerous bikes from ebay, all in excellent or near new condition. The cheapet I have gotten on ebay was $200 plus $50 for shipping, but thats an average price for shipping a bike. Needless to say all my other bikes that I have gotten on ebay were more expensive, but apx 50% of the retail price.
    I think you can find exactly what you want on ebay, but make sure the bike is your size, ask the seller numerous questions especially why the seller is selling the bike. and last but not least, DO NOT bid on the bike right off the bat, wait and watch, I wait until the last 30 seconds of the auction and place my max bid, that way I dont get into a bidding war and raise the final price of the bike...
    BTW all the bikes I have gotten on ebay are BIANCHI except for one NOS schwinn for my daughter.
    Good luck and be safe
    2001 Bianchi Giro
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    Nothing else but Bianchi"

  13. #13
    Senior Member sdouglaslt's Avatar
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    You CAN find a decent bike on EBay for under $200. I bought a new 2000 Fuji Odessa MTB for $120 recently and it was easy to upgrade it to a suspension bike with parts I bought off eBay. Having gone through what you're going through, I'd recommend sticking with a mountain bike (MTB) instead of a road bike. If you're using it to chug around campus and bounce around packed trails on the weekend, you'll get the most versatility out of it. You can ususally get good prices on DiamondBack and Fuji MTBs. A 17" will be easier for you to handle, but you'll get more speed out of a 19" frame. The length of the seat tube is important because you need to be able to have your leg fully extended at the botom of the downstroke. Otherwise, your knees bear the brunt of your pedal stroke.

    Plan B is to just go to Wally World and buy a Next Comfort Bike. If you're going to use it mostly on campus and sidewalks, it'll get you there with no problems. It's a lesser target for theft, too. They're not sexy and they aren't made for off-roading, but they'll get you around city streets just as good as anything else on 2 wheels. That's what I started with and it helped me appreciate my more expensive bikes that I own. Nonetheless, I still use the Next when I'm riding around the park with my daughters. Since they make me look good, I don't have to worry about how my bike makes me look.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff williams
    You mean Seattube\ standover? I'm not so sure road geometry works for mtb.

    Do you have any links for womens geometry in bikes? I've no idea what is done to warrent it being sold as a ladies bike other than short toptubes?

    I went and measured. The 20-inch Gary Fisher Hybrid goes 19.5 inches from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of frame seatpost (standover). An imaginary top-tube, cuz this is step-thru, center to center would be 20.5 inches. On the Schwinn Frontier (26" wheels), labeled 19 inch frame: Same Bottom bracket up, is 18.5 inches and the imaginary top tube, center to center, would be 21 inches. I do have a slightly longer stem on the Fisher which is set up for a more road ride. And the Schwinn handles well on rougher terrain.

    Trek has a nice description of their Women Specific Design stuff:
    http://www.trekbikes.com/bikes/2004/...ifference.html

  15. #15
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    I buy my used bikes from this E-bay seller and have had
    excellent luck. THIS seller is also a cyclist as well as
    honest. Just watch his store and you will find your bike.

    http://stores.ebay.com/Duglasi-Cycle...enameZl2QQtZkm
    Last edited by Nightshade; 10-29-04 at 02:50 PM.

  16. #16
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    sdouglaslt:

    "The length of the seat tube is important because you need to be able to have your leg fully extended at the botom of the downstroke. Otherwise, your knees bear the brunt of your pedal stroke."

    Raise the seat. As long as this is not too extreme that the seat when pushed to the extremity of the rails is still off the bb. Also this requires a stronger post.
    Most mtb'rs adopt a relaxed position, helped by the incline frame as the headset is higher than horizontal level frames.
    You tend not to adopt full leg extension unless into xc riding IMO.

  17. #17
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...110368921&rd=1 Man, somebody has to tell this guy to shrink his type...It's like he's YELLING!

    Rust, old cranks, drive. Simple is better, so i'm not to sold on any auto shift. and only 6 speed. He's 'not sure' if Chromoly? The wheels look alloy- only selling point.
    $50 at the thrift store..maybe.

    I ride a 7 speed 'cause I tossed 2 chainrings, you want @ least a 21 speed (old) better a 24.
    Bikes do 27 now.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...109129013&rd=1 Looks fine. the way the rear Triangle meets the seattube is a little more advanced, most old Trek were o.k steel, has Shimano components, V-brakes...no rust.

    Not sure about Altus groupe, maybe indexed ( rapid fire shift ) I think an entry level Shimano line. The rear derailler is probably just o.k. But wheels, brakes yadda, yadda- nice.

    I think it looks the best so far.
    Last edited by jeff williams; 10-29-04 at 11:42 AM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff williams
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...110368921&rd=1 Man, somebody has to tell this guy to shrink his type...It's like he's YELLING!
    I'd be wary of a screamer like that. He also has all these extra conditions ... newbies email him first. What's that all about? I'd stick to ebay sellers who sound straight, take paypal and don't have a bad rating.

    Would anyone here deal with someone who posts a sell like that?

  19. #19
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    "Treks and Giants and Mamooses." -First, a mamoose is a female moose, I know I'm Canadian...or is it the thing Eskimos carry babies in.?????

    Mongoose? Not really, more kids bikes. Trek are the standard 'mid' market dominator, lotsa good bikes. Giant is fine too. Each company has entry, mid and HQ lines.
    Don't forget they assemble bikes with other companies components, this often dictates the level.

    Top of the line Shimano, 5 years old will probably run just fine, no need to upgrade, just replace worn drive components (if any). The Trek you posted possibly had brake, shift upgrades.
    Last edited by jeff williams; 10-29-04 at 01:02 PM.

  20. #20
    slower than you Applehead57's Avatar
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    I bought a used Fuji roadbike from E-Bay, and would recommend going that route.
    I would also recommend you look into a "hardtail" mountainbike. Great flexibility, you can ride anywhere, much more reasonably priced that full-suspension, and generally not complex to work on. I'm saving up for a Jamis DurangoSX.
    As a rule, I would only buy a bike that I have heard of, no unknown manufacturers, and had the component group I wanted.
    You've probably seen how expensive bikes can be. Daunting, but not paralyzing. You don't have to spend big bucks to get a good bike, an expensive bike from a "name" manufacturer will likely give you everything you want.
    Cycling is great fun and the best exercise available anywhere.
    "Lack of opportunity does not constitute virtue". Diana Tickle.

  21. #21
    Senior Member joeprim's Avatar
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    gumbyscousin

    How far are you from Vermont? I saw a place in Burlington called "The OLD Spokes Home" specializing in used bikes. That way you get to see fell and try out a few bikes before you buy. BTW my LBS has new steel MTBs for ~$300.

    Joe

  22. #22
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    GOT A BIKE! http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=5966

    Used (From Craigslist.com) - A Specialized HardRock 2004 - $210 (talked down from 250 - they claimed it was "mint condition" and definitely was not)

    Decent bike but the back tire's worn, some paint's off, there seems to be a little rust on the chain and it could use new brake pads. That seems like a lot but it has a solid ride. What do you think of the price?
    Last edited by gumbyscousin; 10-30-04 at 11:42 PM. Reason: Forgot to add link

  23. #23
    @#$% cars
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    That's a great bike. Ride it alot!!

  24. #24
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumbyscousin
    GOT A BIKE! http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=5966

    Used (From Craigslist.com) - A Specialized HardRock 2004 - $210 (talked down from 250 - they claimed it was "mint condition" and definitely was not)

    Decent bike but the back tire's worn, some paint's off, there seems to be a little rust on the chain and it could use new brake pads. That seems like a lot but it has a solid ride. What do you think of the price?
    Cool, good price..paints whatever, put a sticker on.

    Brake pads- Kool Stop are a good brand. Red are grippier? in wet conditions (less carbon) make sure you get the right post size, type.

    A worn rear tire is o.k., more dangerous if front as you steer front, can correct rear slippage. I personally like rounded profile xc tires for all around riding.
    Maybe try to match the tread design of the front, some tires are specific front\ rear, some can mount both.

    Get an all purpose lube and do the chain. deraillers moving parts.
    Not sure about WD-40 to remove rust on a chain...if you did, you'll want to wash the chain after, dry then lube.

    Lube the chain, der parts say weekly.
    Do you have a digital camera? Post a pic.

  25. #25
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    A lot of dealers have used rehabbed bikes tucked away somewhere - often good deals.

    Rusty chain? Replace it, not worth cleaning & will shift better (unless you have worn back gears, in which place you'll need to replace one or more rings).
    Where have you been all your life?

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